Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wrongful Interpretation of a Defender's Face - Ben Carlson

The picture that I would like to evaluate is on the opposite side of page 150 that depicts the scene that occurs between pages 150 and 151 of when Felix discovers the monster in his cottage and “Felix darted forward, and with supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me violently with a stick.” (Shelley page 151). In the illustration Ward depicts that Agatha is fainting in the doorway and Safie is fleeing the cottage while looking back at the scene unfolding. Felix is striking the monster with wood while the monster lays on the floor with an arm and leg stretched out.

When I look at the illustration I see the monster reaching out his arm and I think that Ward was trying to get a message across: the monster is looking for help. The monster is reaching up his arm to cry out for help to admit to the people in the room (Felix, Agatha, and Safie) that he was vulnerable and that he was not trying to cause them harm. Felix in the picture is not showing any fear or any real emotion besides determination in his face, and Ward is trying to get across that Felix wants to defend his family and is
not afraid to do so in this context. Safie is fleeing the cottage and looking back on what is happening in her home, something that is not mentioned in the text. One important interpretation of the text that Ward is depicting is the lack of De Lacey in the illustration, in this case it is not what is shown, but
what is excluded. De Lacey is trying to pass the meaning that De Lacey did not have a big role in the events that occurred when Felix, Safie, and Agatha arrived back at the cottage.

The story told by the monster up until this point depicts him trying to connect with his “defenders” in this cottage and he longs desperately for the emotional support that would be available to someone raised in normal conditions in society. I feel like the monster is very sad in this moment since he had hoped they would react differently. To me this is an accurate interpretation of the text, and truly conveys the message of the monster’s sorrow in his situation. He could have torn them apart very easily,
“I could have torn him limb from limb, as the lion rends the antelope.” (Shelley page 151) but he decides not to because of his sadness. The monster is described earlier in the book that is important for understand the facial expressions of Felix, “yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and
arteries beneath” (Shelley page 53).

Why would Felix not be scared or nice to a monster that is very strong? The monster cannot hide its muscles and doesn’t try to, but Felix has an expression of determination in the illustration. This is an interesting choice for Ward because it shows that he does not have fear but only the passion to defend his family. When I originally read the text I was under the impression that Felix was terrified but willing to defend his family, not that he was so determined to maintain their safety.

When confronted with something terrifying and scary, my tendency is to run and not look back. In the illustration that Ward presents, Safie is fleeing and looking back at the scene and it looks like she is
contemplating staying and only her initial instinct is to run. There is a character depth, even in this picture that was Ward is getting across very effectively. Safie looking back while she is fleeing and questioning her decision shows her concern for her family instead of just her safety. The lack
of De Lacey in this picture to me shows that Ward was trying to convey the point that he was not involved in the debacle. He was shocked but did not help or try to stop Felix or run away, he just was not a part of the scene.

I think Ward does a great job illustrating the scene at hand and conveys the characters and lack of characters very well except for Felix. Safie, the monster, Agatha, and the lack of De Lacey really show what the text is conveying and are logical character descriptions from the text in an illustrated format. I
disagree with the expression that Felix has, I think he should have been depicted as more terrified or worried. He did not know the monster, all he knew was that he was in his house and was bulging with muscles. As I mentioned earlier, the monster did not have plenty of skin to hide the muscle he had. In
that situation, I find it hard to believe that someone that could think clarity would attack the monster without some fear or terror as to what would happen. I don’t doubt that someone would rush to protect De Lacey, only the manner in which they do so, this is why I think Ward was wrong in his expression of the face of Felix.

1 comment:

  1. What's good?

    1) Your focus on the behavior of the women. You could have done more here, especially by going into more detail about which woman is which, and their differences as well as their similarity.
    2) While I was a little confused about whether it was your main argument, your intermittent focus on questioning the portrayal of Felix is good.

    What weaker?

    1) You needed more focus. #2 could definitely have been an effective essay, with more detail (especially from the text, but also to a detailed "reading" of Felix' face). #1 is also very interesting, but even less developed. Doing both together was at least something of a mistake.

    2) You repeat too much of what was said in class. You have your own things to say, but you waste space by repeating too much, and developing your own ideas too little.